Hunt’s ret­i­cence on Wits’ star sign­ings could speak vol­umes

The Herald (South Africa) - - SPORT - Marc Stry­dom

GAVIN Hunt did not want to com­ment on whether he had been dis­ap­pointed at how lit­tle two of his head­line sign­ings, Steven Pien­aar and Day­lon Claasen, had given him at bat­tling Bid­vest Wits this sea­son – and in so do­ing, per­haps he said it all.

Wits‚ then month-old Absa Premier­ship cham­pi­ons‚ pa­raded a string of big sign­ings ahead of the 2017-18 sea­son‚ in­clud­ing ex-Ever­ton mid­fielder, Pien­aar and ex-TSV 1860 Munich for­ward, Claasen.

There were oth­ers too – Mon­tene­grin cen­tre back, Slavko Dam­janovic and Amr Ga­mal from Egyp­tian gi­ants Al Ahly. Wits looked odds-on favourites to de­fend their ti­tle. As­tound­ingly‚ a home 0-0 draw against sec­ond-last Ajax Cape Town on Tues­day night left Wits rooted at the bot­tom of the ta­ble af­ter 12 games.

Pien­aar and Claasen – Bafana Bafana in­ter­na­tion­als – have per­haps been the big­gest dis­ap­point­ments.

The former has played like his legs are crocked and was not even on the bench on Wed­nes­day night.

Claasen started, and might have been rusty from a re­cent in­jury lay­off, but was still dis­ap­point­ing in how lit­tle he pro­vided and was taken off at half time.

“Ja‚ I won’t com­ment about play­ers in the press‚” Hunt said‚ asked if he was dis­ap­pointed by Claasen and Pien­aar’s con­tri­bu­tion this sea­son.

Then he dra­mat­i­cally rolled his eyes and said: “They’re still fit­ting in. So ja.”

Asked if that was about the league‚ he said: “Well‚ I think it’s tough. It’s a hard-run­ning‚ pacey league. It’s dif­fer­ent. Any­one who comes from any­where is al­ways go­ing to strug­gle here. Even Ga­mal strug­gles here.”

Ga­mal has cer­tainly per­formed the best of the sign­ings. If any­thing, the striker has at times put pres­sure on him­self.

He has scored five goals and shown much with his in­tel­li­gent move­ment and mo­bil­ity‚ but missed an­other in a string of costly sit­ters that would have earned Wits vic­tory against Ajax.

Dam­janovic seemed shocked by the pace of the game in South Africa, be­ing thrown in at the deep end in Wits’ first match‚ a penal­ties MTN8 win against La­montville Golden Ar­rows‚ and was red-carded af­ter 21 min­utes.

He has only re­cov­ered to two more league and three cup ap­pear­ances since.

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